The importance of validating your business idea

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Joan
5 Minutes

What is a Minimum Viable Product and how do I build one?

The importance of validating your business idea

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a development technique popularised by start-up writer Eric Ries. It proposes that you learn iteratively about your customers by getting them to test an idea or prototype with core features. You then adapt your product based on the feedback collected.

The final product is only designed and developed after you have determined which features are absolutely necessary. This incremental approach will save you time and money and enable you to get to market faster.

DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS

'42% of entrepreneurs fail because there was no market need for their product'

When you develop a product, you make many assumptions, such as what users are looking for, how the design should work, what the pricing strategy should be, what marketing strategy to use and the laws and regulations you should adhere to.

It goes without saying that some of these assumptions will be wrong but how can you identify which ones?

TEST YOUR PRODUCT

The only way to find out which of your assumptions is wrong is to test them. Put your product in front of real users as quickly as possible. Ask them if they understand its benefits and whether it would be a good solution to their problems.

When you do this, you’ll find you have to go back to the drawing board again and again, and repeatedly refine your product until it meets all the requirements of your customers.

TIPS FOR BUILDING AN MVP

1. INCREMENTAL CHANGES

Change each element of your product in increments so that you can identify individual weaknesses and adapt the product accordingly.

2. AVOID FEAR OF THE 'FALSE NEGATIVE' - OR BEING DISCOURAGED WHEN NO ONE WANTS YOUR PROTOTYPE

'60% of features in software products are rarely or never used'

Many entrepreneurs don’t want to ship a product until it has been fully developed with all features for fear of negative feedback and the product not being liked.

It is better to identify which features your customers don't like in the early stages so you don't invest any more in their development.

It is equally possible that an early version of your product could be a good match with user requirements and won’t require much further modification, saving you a considerable amount of money, time and effort.

3. USE VIDEO TO DEMONSTRATE YOUR PRODUCT

People are increasingly visual in the way they consume content online and video is rapidly increasing in popularity. If your product is very technical, the combined visual and audio elements of video make demonstrations much easier to understand.

The file sharing application Dropbox was launched following the development of an MVP in video format. CEO Drew Houston developed a three minute explainer video in which he clearly demonstrated the product's intended functionality and user benefits. The video was shared to his network to guage reaction and the number of sign-ups increased from 5,000 to 75,000 overnight - all this in the absence of an actual product.

HOW WEB FOUNDRY HELPED PINGA LAWYER DEVELOP AN MVP

Pinga Lawyer is an online tool that matches people with legal needs to lawyers. Web Foundry helped get this start-up idea off the ground by developing a microsite with core features which Pinga could showcase to potential customers.

Feedback guided further modifications and identified the need for missing features which were added to the product. This incremental approach avoided the development of unnecessary functionality and enabled significant cost savings for Pinga.

Web Foundry have many years of experience in helping ambitious start-ups realise their business goals. Our iterative approach reduces the investment required in your product development, saving you time and helping you get your product to market faster.

Get in touch for advice on developing an MVP for your new product idea.

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